Customer Reviews for

Out Stealing Horses

Average Rating 4
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Haunting and beautiful

Hats off to Anne Born for a exceptional translation. The beauty of the language and the familiar emotional content in "Out Stealing Horses" is best understood perhaps by those of us who are around the same age as the protagonist, Trond. "Time is important to me now, I t...
Hats off to Anne Born for a exceptional translation. The beauty of the language and the familiar emotional content in "Out Stealing Horses" is best understood perhaps by those of us who are around the same age as the protagonist, Trond. "Time is important to me now, I tell myself. Not that it pass quickly or slowly but be only Time, be something I live inside and fill with physical things and activities that I can divide it up by,so that it grows distinct to me and does not vanish when I'm not looking." I gasped when I read that because I would never have understood this as a young person and understand it so well now.I read the book through quickly to see what was going to happen and then went back to the beginning and read it all over again.

posted by TGrey on December 30, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

I must have missed something...

The New York Times Book Review states that this is one of the 10 best books of the year. I wonder what year they're talking about.?.? I know that this book has a story in it somewhere, but I could only find glimpses of it. The book features Trond as the main character. ...
The New York Times Book Review states that this is one of the 10 best books of the year. I wonder what year they're talking about.?.? I know that this book has a story in it somewhere, but I could only find glimpses of it. The book features Trond as the main character. He is 67 years old and has decided to buy a dilapidated home in the north of Norway in the middle of no where. Here he just wants to be alone. The author then proceeds to incorporate flashbacks to the summer Trond was 15 in 1948. I know that this book is actually about the events that shaped Trond's life and turned him into a man that chose to be alone during his final years, but I didn't like the 67 year-old Trond. I liked the 15 year-old. The author blurred the story too much and there wasn't much closure. I will not read this author again, and I don't recommend it to anyone I know - however, if you're fond of books that waste your time - feel free to indulge.

posted by Annibebe on June 14, 2011

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  • Posted December 30, 2008

    Haunting and beautiful

    Hats off to Anne Born for a exceptional translation. The beauty of the language and the familiar emotional content in "Out Stealing Horses" is best understood perhaps by those of us who are around the same age as the protagonist, Trond. "Time is important to me now, I tell myself. Not that it pass quickly or slowly but be only Time, be something I live inside and fill with physical things and activities that I can divide it up by,so that it grows distinct to me and does not vanish when I'm not looking." I gasped when I read that because I would never have understood this as a young person and understand it so well now.I read the book through quickly to see what was going to happen and then went back to the beginning and read it all over again.

    14 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 20, 2010

    I just reread this book and rediscovered why I loved it the first time.

    Out stealing horses mesmerizes you from page one. With quiet, simple language, Trond T narrates and draws you into the solitude and quietude of the world he inhabits, moving back and forth through time from age 15 to age 67.
    He spends his fifteenth summer with his dad, Trond Sr., in a cabin located in the Norwegian woods in logging country. It was a summer of discovery, tragedy, familial bonding, friendship and coming of age. Now, in retirement, Trond T has bought his own cabin, in a remote area, and begins renovating his cabin and rediscovering his past.
    Throughout the book, the secrets of his father's life unfold, as memories are reawakened, quite naturally, with no underlying curiosity or expectation exposing them. They just seem to roll out effortlessly from a character as he/she is introduced, here and there, to enlighten the reader. It is as if you are expected to intuit them because they keep their lives so private and regimented and that when you learn of an incident, you somehow accept it with the same solemn fortitude of the character. The characters do not intrude on the lives of each other, but rather walk around each other lightly, allowing personal space and privacy. There is a calm determination which permeates the story coupled with a fierce stoicism. It was marvelously written and executed. I hated to read the last word. There are so many questions left unanswered to think about.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 21, 2008

    Got me hooked on the first page.

    This was a book I could not put down. It is a book I had to talk over with others so I was thankful I was a member of a book club. The characters are complex. The theme wrestles with the way life can "happen" to a person. How life is what happens when one is making other plans........<BR/>I highly recommend the book to people who like introspection, psychology and examining the "human condition."

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2008

    Loss and Love by the Arctic Circle

    Here are memorably sketched the reminiscences of Trond, an aging hermit, as he looks back on signal events of his childhood. From his cabin on the easterly Norwegian border he recalls seeing a man shot by a Nazi a neighbor boy who accidentally shot his own brother Trond's father's efforts to comfort the grieving mother, an intimacy that now, through the eyes of experience, went beyond simple kindness. Trond has returned to the place of his youth after his wife of many years was killed in a car accident. This extraordinary book is more than a reverie it is the narrator's attempt to link the losses of his life into a chain that might help decode their significance. Here too is prose that matches perfectly a poetic, spare telling, stark as the landscape, to its subject. The result is an emotional cleansing for the reader prepared to let the poetry of the book win him over.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 17, 2009

    Don't Race through this one...

    Take your time to really absorb this one! The writing style is minimal yet rich. If you're looking for a great plot you may be disappointed, but that is not why one reads this. It is about relationships and the imperfect lives we lead. If you're looking for a fairy-tale, I believe the author would have you read Dickens. There is no music in the background here, except maybe the beautifully described nature sounds of Norway. If you're on the "back 9" of life you will appreciate this even more.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2009

    Relationships equal lifelong Learning

    In this beautifully written book the author's compassion for a boy he knew when a youth is mobilized in service of gentling impossible-to-articulate feelings about his own life. Chapter by chapter, unfeeling is peeled away. The protagonist emerges accepting his experiences, emotions, and actions. Events and ideas are painted rather than inculcated so the reader is treated to poetry instead of lecture. Scandinavia beckons from every travel poster while reading this book. The paperback is on good quality paper and the cover art work does the book justice.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    Wow, what a well-written book

    I picked this book because it had so many good reviews. It truly deserved them. The plot goes back and forth in time, but is smooth and seamless. As the story is slowly revealed, there are surprises. It is not the type of book where you can predict what is going to happen. And really, you don't want to. You just want to enjoy the marvelous writing as the story unfolds. It's a gem.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Small Country with a Big Heart

    I was taken back on how beautifully written,and detailed this account of WW11 in rural Norway.With the Germans thinking that the local folk are friendly,unassuming,the underground is working day and night smuggling Jews out of harms way.As seen through a boys eyes,and then as a grown man,I was reminded how we must not ever take for granted the Heroes ,whose names we will never know.When we are in the present time and again back in Norway with a grown man,looking back, his life has come full circle..Per Petterson and Anne Born have given life to an amazing story

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2009

    Must read this beautiful, profound novel!

    Norwegian novelist Per Petterson has crafted a magnificently-written, captivating novel that is filled with beauty and emotion. Set in the Norwegian countryside, a man tells his compelling story of how the events of one adolescent summer, in 1948, formed the rest of his life. The narrator, 67 year-old Trond Sander, has chosen to live in quiet solitude in a remote part of Norway. When he discovers his closest neighbor is one of the main participants of that pivotal summer, old memories surface causing him to examine his past. Flashbacks of growing up are interwoven with his tale of growing old. I absolutely loved this poignant book. Each page is overflowing with meaning and insight. The lush descriptions of the Norwegian landscape are vivid and breathtaking. Many enigmas were left unaddressed, leaving me to interpret them. This story left me pondering the influence of the past in my life. It is up to me to decide how circumstances will affect me and how I will react. In addition, it may be necessary to take some action if life starts to cause mental pain. I highly recommend this thought-provoking novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 9, 2009

    Simple & Insightful

    Per Petterson has a way of putting thoughts & feelings everyone has probably experienced into a simple & relatable way through his characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 7, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Out Stealing Horses is a sparse, beautiful, and powerful novel.

    Out Stealing Horses is a sparse, beautiful, and powerful novel. Our protagonist, 67 year old Trond, has moved from Oslo to a small village in the country, where he plans to spend the rest of his life. As he sets about repairing his new home he begins to think back on the course of his life. In a kind of reverse coming-of-age story Trond takes us back to the summer of '48, a summer he spent with his father in another small village in the country. Petterson deftly weaves back and forth through time to slowly unravel this tale, and show us how our pasts inform our futures. The beautiful stream-of-consciousness prose injects a sense of urgency into the narrative, while somehow managing not to disrupt the slow, melancholy tone of the novel. In many ways Out Stealing Horses reminded me of John Banville's The Sea, except it is even more powerful, even more beautiful. I'm not sure I could give this novel higher praise than that.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2013

    Will be a classic

    Magical prose -- coming of age and growing old both explored. Felt like i was there in Norway in 1948 .

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  • Posted May 26, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Mesmerising

    I found a new author to add to my list of "ones I always pounce on right away when a new title comes out." I loved this book. It is terse, smart, touching, challenging, and rewarding. The characters become familiar to you although they are by no means exhausted. There are loose ends left not quite neatly tied up, but that just adds to the mystery and sense of inevitable forboding that pervades the atmosphere of the story. But it is the writing, the language, the style, that is the "star" of the book. It is hard to imagine that anything might have been "lost in translation." It is as beautiful a book as I have ever had the pleasure of reading. The relative brevity of the book, along with some fairly meaty "issues" with which to grapple, I think would make it an excellent choice for book groups; even the most discerning would find it rewarding.

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    It felt as though I were living another's life...

    A nice quiet, well-written tale. Lyrical and to the point with descriptions that I could feel. I truly enjoyed this book and couldn't wait to pick up where I'd left off each night.

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  • Posted March 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    An International Masterpiece

    This story has been called "magical" and "masterful," and it truly is. It captures the reader's mind and heart so subtly that one is lost in its web of time without realizing that each moment of tension, each expression of pain, each sound of nature, and each release of humor creates a catch in the throat, an intake of breath, or a sigh of relief.
    Set in the water wonderland of rivers, fjords, lakes, islands and mountains that make up Norway and Sweden, this story is told through the voice of 67-year-old Trond Sander. Living alone in a small lakeside cabin in a pine and birch forest, Sander is part of the present world of computers, snow ploughs, and chainsaws; yet his recollections of his passage from young manhood into the reality of adulthood bind the past and present into a stream of consciousness.
    The companionship of his faithful dog Lyra and their routine of walks, meals, chores, reading, and bedtime are the structure that Sander establishes for his life, and when his plans are shattered by the interference of nature or people, he reacts with irritation and anger. In spite of his search for solitude, Sander soon realizes that there is no way to entirely live alone, because everyone in the village and nearby cabins depends on each other for help in their isolation. The beauty and harshness of the winters of Norway play an important part in the lives of the people who know that survival requires preparation for the winter storms of dangerous winds, rain, heavy snow, and frozen lakes.
    When the unlikely recognition of his neighbor Lars surfaces from Sander's past, it brings memories of his young friend Jon flowing back into his life. Sander is thrown back into the times of his life that were spent with his father in a lakeside cabin; the experience and physical exhilaration of being a part of logging in the forest; the freedom of roaming the mountains and forests without fear; and the painful and hilarious attempts to learn to ride horseback. The reader is taken on a rollercoaster of recollections.
    Sander is caught up emotionally in trying to understand his father's part in "the traffic" that carried information and people across the lakes and forests into Sweden during the WWII German occupation of Norway. The dangerous and often deadly risks taken by the men and women of this hardy and fiercely independent nation created bonds of trust and love that survived into life-long commitments, yet tore apart families with timid or unwilling participants.
    NOTE: This is a story that I will remember and probably read again. This is a story that reaches deep into the psyche to vibrate cords of sadness and joy that everyone experiences in their struggle to cross from childhood into the world of adults, not understanding until that journey is finished that the emotions and memories of that past also made the journey.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Out Stealing Horses

    A wonderful book that explores relationships in a riveting way. Descriptions are luminous, characters ring true, and the plot is both surprising and satisfying. This is a book I'm recommending to all of my friends. People I know who've read it agree that it is a delight.

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  • Posted June 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A gift for the thoughtful reader!

    This is the best surprise I have read in the last year! Although it was highly recommended by two friends in my book club, I did not expect the challenge of an entirely unique style of writing. The plot that is unwritten is what keeps you turning the page.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2009

    Powerful novel

    Starting out with a Hemingwayesque loner living remotely in the Norweigan woods facing his memories of his teenage youth spent with his father living in the country during WWII, Per Petterson carefully and beautifully unravels a complex plot of self-discovery as the loner learns some hard truths about himself and his father as he recalls the past. This moving book was a hit with my book club, and I can heartily recommend it to lovers of great writing.

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  • Posted May 2, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Out Stealing Horses by Per Peterson

    This is a very unusual and lovely book, evoking the presence and influence of the past in our lives. It is a translation, and to some extent, feels a little foreign. Most people I've known who read this found it to be absorbing and moving.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2009

    Wonderful

    this is a great read. It is fantastic writing. The language is very simple, very precise. The story slowly unfolds as you learn more about these characters. Critical events are captured in a phrase. Great for your book club discussion.

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